Results tagged ‘ Mariano Rivera ’

Good (and bad) news from the bullpen

The good news from the bullpen is that Mariano Rivera feels great and says his previously sore left groin is 100 percent.

The not-so-good news, delivered today by Joe Girardi, is that David Robertson has been experiencing stiffness in his right elbow for the past 10 days to two weeks. He’s been shut down until he sees Dr. James Andrews, the specialist in all injuries to athletes, presumably in his Birmingham, Ala., office.

robertson300_090809.jpgRobertson said he’s not worried. “It’s a concern of mine,” Girardi said, noting Robertson’s “ability to get strikeouts (has been) about as good as anybody in baseball.”

Robertson has struck out 54 batters in 36 1/3 innings since May 26. With 61 K’s in 41 innings overall, he ranks first in average strikeouts per nine innings among AL relievers who quality (at least 40 innings).

This could be encouraging: Robertson has been pitching well, with his usual (or higher) velocity, even with the lingering stiffness. Girardi called that “interesting and unusual.”

For now Girardi is without one option in the bullpen, something a division leader with a nine-game lead can live with in September. On a night when Girardi would use Robertson to give Hughes or even Bruney a night off, he’ll now look to Aceves, Albaladejo, Coke or Marte. “We have a little less flexibility and (fewer) weapons,” Girardi said.

Always optimistic, Girardi is hopeful that Robertson — whom he called “a huge part of our bullpen” — will return relatively soon and contribute in October.

Tino Martinez:
I spotted him today at the stadium and he says he’ll be here tomorrow. I’ll ask 10 questions (or so) of Tino that are representative of the ones you submitted back in May. And the Q&A will be posted on the blog by Thursday.

Reminder: I’ll be chatting at 6:45 p.m. tomorrow until first pitch. Hope you can join me!

Thank you: For reading and for the birthday wishes. Very nice.

Flashback Friday in Toronto

It’s Flashback Friday here at Rogers Centre. Does that mean we can call it Skydome? The Blue Jays look dandy in their powder blues. And they wish it were 1993.

rivera250_090409.jpgAnyway, Mariano was joking around in the clubhouse before the game. That’s the surest sign that his left groin is feeling better. He’ll throw a side session tomorrow and, if all goes well, be available Sunday.

Derek Jeter: With the way the schedule is breaking, it’s almost certain he’ll break Lou Gehrig’s franchise hits record at home. (Which, really, is how it should be.) Jeter isn’t in the lineup tonight; Girardi called it a planned day off. He’s eight hits shy of tying The Iron Horse and has two games left in Toronto. Then it’s 10 games at home. The record-breaker will be an outstanding moment. How will his teammates congratulate him? Will they go on the field? Or stand at the dugout, joining the ovation?

David Cone: “Are you blogging?” he wants to know. “Yes!” I reply. Through his extensive pre-game research, he has some “offensive tidbits” to pass along.

One, the Yankees don’t chase bad pitches. In fact, they’re best in the Majors at identifying balls and strikes. The Yankees swing at just 22.2 percent of pitches outside the strike zone. The Giants swing at the most — 31.6 percent.

Two, the Yankees are selective, stubbornly so. As are the Red Sox. Boston hitters swing at just 42.4 percent of pitches seen, the lowest rate in baseball. The Yankees are just behind at 42.6 percent. And you wonder why their games are so long.

Thanks, David!

Yogi Berra: At 7 p.m. on Sept. 17, Fritz Peterson will be at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center for a discussion and signing of his new book, “Mickey Mantle is Going to Heaven.” Fritz had an interesting career; he played with Mantle and Munson and was a 20-game winner in 1970.

Jonathan Papelbon: The Red Sox closer was fined $5,000 by MLB for a pacing violation during his outing Tuesday. (His 2009 salary is $6.25 million.) He said he’s been fined at least five times for taking too long at the start of an inning.

“Game pace, pace of game, or something like that,” Papelbon told the Boston Globe and WEEI.com. “I don’t know why they keep coming after me. It’s probably because I’m not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m not obeying the rules. You’re allowed (two minutes, 25 seconds), and I’m taking too long.”

Remember when Theo Epstein said his closer “isn’t a Rhodes scholar, obviously?” That was funny.

Jay Alford: The Giants defensive lineman is gone for the season after partially tearing his ACL. That’s a shame. Why? Because he went to Atlanta during the offseason to work his tail off with Osi and was going to be a big contributor this season. And he’s a Nittany Lion.

News and notes from Toronto

halladay250.jpgThe outside of Rogers Centre includes large portraits of Toronto-area stars. (That includes Buffalo.) Trent Edwards of the Bills is flanked by Cito Gaston and B.J. Ryan. To the left of Ryan are Scott Rolen, Roy Halladay. Alex Rios is pictured elsewhere around the dome.

Ryan’s gone, Rolen’s gone, Rios is gone and Halladay might be gone this winter. Presumably this offseason there will be some redecorating on the exterior. The Blue Jays — who’ve weathered 12 disabled list stints by 10 pitchers this season — haven’t spent money wisely and don’t have as much as they’d like to spend. That’s toxic.

Meanwhile, on the interior, fans are few and far between. The sparse crowd here – on Ladies Night, no less — follows three nowhere-near-capacity gatherings in Baltimore.

That’s the awful part of baseball season when a team is out of it by Labor Day. Or Independence Day.

Mariano Rivera: He knows panic could ensue whenever his health is in question. He said he’ll be fine. But his left groin is “sore.” In Seattle last month, it “grabbed” and resulted in one appearance over a week’s time as he rested and underwent treatment. This time, Mariano said it might be a few days. He will be cautious. Girardi said it is uncomfortable — “like walking on hot coals” uncomfortable — to think about not having the Hall of Fame closer.

Jonathan Albaladejo: Have you seen his face? He looks like he was in a fight and lost. Big-time. Actually, he was playing catch with Edwar Ramirez on Monday and missed the ball, which hit him just above his left eye. He got a Band-Aid. Within 30 minutes, he had two shiners that are now a mixture of black, blue, purple and pink. The Yankees waited until he pitched in a game — an inning last night for AAA — to recall him. He arrived today and got a lot of ribbing. “Catch the ball!” Joba yelled, just as Albaladejo finished chatting with some reporters. Albaladejo laughed. “They were giving me a hard time in AAA,” he said. “I’d rather they give me a hard time here.”

Phil Hughes: In his locker here are two souvenirs from Baltimore, a Nick Markakis bobblehead and an Adam Jones figure. Hughes is collecting with a purpose. “I don’t want just regular stuff,” he said. “These are funny. Markakis is making a sliding catch, and Jones is jumping and blowing a bubble.” He’s right. The Orioles apparently know how to do give-away nights.

Joe Girardi: Joe’s wife, Kim, and Kid Styles of Bedford Hills are hosting an event on Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Stadium to support awareness of stomach cancer. Blue hair extensions will be sold at two booths as will raffle tickets to win one of four items signed by the manager. All proceeds go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer of Northwestern University. Joe’s sister-in-law was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and he says she’s doing well. He also says he’ll be wearing a blue extension that day.

Jim Leyland: His Tigers have a five-game lead over the Twins. But Leyland objected to the suggestion today that his team is in the “driver’s seat.”

“I don’t like comments like that,” he said. “There’s no reason for them. Our players should feel good about themselves and what they’ve done, but there’s no need to talk. Just go out there and keep doing it.”

Saying goodbye is the hardest part …

Cervelli-7-9-250.jpgWhen Ramiro Pena was sent down to AAA, he was smiling and happy, a young guy who knew he needed to play every day, believed he had played well and hopes he’ll return to the majors Sept. 1.

Today, it was slightly different with Francisco Cervelli. Yes, he knows he performed better than anyone anticipated with Posada and then Molina going on the DL at the beginning of May. Yes, he is happy with the way he played and contributed and caught veteran pitchers who rave about him. And yes, he knows how great a defensive catcher Molina is and he respects that.

Yet there was sadness with Cervelli, who said he didn’t think we could possibly understand how much the past two months have meant to him. “The most important time in my life,” he said. “You don’t know how much I enjoyed every day here.”

Over the past two months, his parents visited New York for the first time and loved it. They were in town during the Subway Series at Citifield. Cervelli introduced them to everyone he could on the team bus.

He marveled at catching Mariano. “You could catch him in your sleep,” he said, closing his eyes and shaking his head. “The best.”

And he appreciated so much the relationship he developed with CC and A.J. “CC was always great,” Cervelli said. “I love that guy. It gave me confidence to know the confidence he had in me.”

Said CC, “He did an unbelievable job. I hate to see him go.”

Added Cervelli: “A.J. was great, too. When I watched A.J. (before being called up), I would say, ‘Let me catch him.’ He has such nasty stuff. He makes hitters look so bad.”

Cervelli will take a flight back East tomorrow morning. He knew the time was coming when he would be sent down, as soon as Molina was ready. “I might cry a little in my hotel room, and I don’t cry often,” he said, sitting in front of his locker during a long pregame chat. “But my mom always told me to have fun in whatever I do. So I’ll go to AAA and have fun. I’ll be back. I know I’ll be back. And I’ll bring Pena with me.”

Laura Posada: Jorge’s wife is featured in a TV show that debuts tonight – “True Hollywood Story: Baseball Wives” at 10 p.m. on E!. She is thrilled. “They followed me for a week!” she told us. We asked Jorge if he was excited. “Uh, yeah,” he said with a smile. “But not as excited as she is.” Set your DVRs.

Jose Molina: It seems like an awfully long time since he went on the DL May 8. Particularly for Molina. “It’s awesome to put on the uniform and be back on the field again,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work, but it’s great to be back.” He’ll catch one of the games this weekend, against the Angels, his former team.

Joe Nathan: The Twins closer is an All-Star again and looks forward to picking Mariano’s brain at the midsummer classic. They have mutual respect. As many pitchers do, Nathan will ask about the cutter. “I hear it’s hard to teach,” Nathan said. “The repetition probably just comes so naturally for him.” But Nathan will ask. “At the same time, I don’t want to have so many pitches that it messes me up,” Nathan said with a laugh. “I have four or five as it is, which is enough.”

Nathan is one of the closers in the game respected by Mariano. He likes the way Nathan goes about doing his job, with superior results and without showmanship.

Alfredo Aceves: He’s tomorrow starter and he’s excited about it. “How many pitches did I throw Sunday?” he asked. Forty-three. “How many did Joe say I could throw tomorrow?” Sixty to 65. “I should be able to throw more than that,” he said. Really, it’s no wonder Girardi loves the guy.

Mealtime at the Metrodome: Following Cone’s lead, we had Maui Wowis for dinner. Think smoothie, with a little umbrella. Cone went with raspberry, Kenny strawberry and we had mango. What a diverse group! We’re all eating popcorn; they have movie theater-caliber popcorn here. Sadly.

Then there’s Stage Manager Teresa, who is peddling a bag of carrots. No takers, besides herself, so far. Watching Cone decline her offer of a carrot was amusing for some reason. Then again, Cone is often amusing, even when he doesn’t say a word.

Live chat Tuesday!

A quick reminder: We’re chatting at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday (tonight) from the Stadium (here’s the link). Oh yeah! Bring your questions and get there early. (Actually, we won’t be early, given those pregame responsibilities. But we’ll be there.)

Hopefully Mr. 500 Saves and One RBI will have time for an “Innerview” tomorrow. Figures Mariano would take care of the whole shebang on ESPN on a Sunday night.

See you tomorrow, and hope you enjoyed the off day.

In-game musings

Johan-6-14-(2)-250.jpgIt’s a good thing Bruney returns Tuesday from the DL. He’s been so bored, he decided to pick on Francisco Rodriguez.

And it’s a good thing the Yankees have a day off tomorrow. When these days off at home roll around, you always get the feeling that every single player and coach is in need of a little break.

Not to mention the rest of us.

 

Johan Santana: Who wants to bet the Yankees will have more success against him today than they did against Nieve yesterday? (Full disclosure: Cano is currently on third with one out in the second inning.)

 

Mariano Rivera: A reader, or two, has asked about Mariano in non-save situations. When we asked him for Friday’s postgame about the difference in those spots, he said he honestly doesn’t know but wishes he did. And he kind of smiled and shook his head as he said it. Like he’s as befuddled as anyone about the disparity in his results. Mariano has coverted 13 consecutive regular-season save opportunities against the Mets.

 

Al Leiter: Doesn’t bring Mike & Ikes to the booth anymore. Which is sad.

 

Chien Ming-Wang: Pete Abraham, who is an expert on Wang, says the birth of a child is said to bring good luck in Chinese culture. No doubt, Wang needs good luck – and a good outing Wednesday. Cashman said today that Wang has to attack hitters, trust his stuff and get back to pitching to contact, which means trusting his defense too. And if he doesn’t have success against the Nationals? Cashman said he, Eiland and Girardi will have another meeting. And this time, they probably won’t decide to give him another start — not with the way Hughes has been pitching.

 

Francisco Cervelli: A bloop single gets the Yankees on the board against Santana. It’s no surprise Cervelli is catching A.J., who just doesn’t pitch well with Posada behind the plate. (7.48 ERA in four starts with Posada. 3.81 in eight starts with Molina or Cash.)

 

Derek Jeter: An RBI single by the Captain, 2-0 Yankees. Funny how Nieve looked like a Cy Young Award winner yesterday and Santana is having to battle today. Damon with a two-run single, 4-0 Yankees. Santana doesn’t look like Santana, does he?

 

Michael Kay: He tries to fool all of us with a plate of watermelon in front of him. “Oh, you’re eating healthy?” Cone asked. “Now I am,” Kay replied. “I had pancakes and bacon earlier.” And he just reached into his bag for an Atkins bar.

Audrey the Stage Manager reports that she had ice cream for breakfast. Yes, we are all obsessed with food.

Kay just complained that the blog is an “invasion of my privacy.” He’s lying. He loves the attention. And he’s drinking Diet Pepsi for the first time in a month and he’s all fired up. (“Blog that!” he says. We will!) Maybe he’s trying to compete with Leiter and his Red Bull.

By the way, Kay had the pancakes dry, no syrup. “Never syrup!” he yelled during a commercial break. “That would bastardize the pancakes.” Really, he’s an interesting guy, isn’t he?

One last shot for Wang

wang_250.jpgJust after our pregame pop, AJ and Wang walked into the dugout together. Wang was smiling and carrying a large cup of peanuts. He knows Wednesday is his last chance to show he should stay in the rotation; before Girardi told the media that, he told it to Wang.

So begins a life-altering six-day stretch for Wang, whose wife will have labor induced Tuesday, if necessary. They are expecting their first child, a son.

And then Wang will start the following night against the Nationals, a team that struggles mightily but can put runs on the board, to prove he still has it.

Given that some Yankees coaches and players are convinced Wang’s troubles stem from waning — or completely shot — confidence, it sets up this dynamic: He will take the mound knowing he has to perform but not necessarily believing he can perform.

As for what’s next if Wang doesn’t perform, it’s probably back to the bullpen, given he has no options left. Unless he winds up on the DL again.

“One of the nicest guys”:
For what it’s worth, and that might be a lot, Wang has plenty of support among his teammates. Cano tells us that Wang is “a great guy, one of the nicest guys in this room,” meaning the visiting mini-clubhouse at Fenway. “I always tell him to keep his head up, but that’s hard to do when you’re not the player you expect yourself to be.”

Over the next few days, Mariano will seek out Wang for a heart-to-heart. It might not be a long conversation, but Mariano is putting thought into what he will say. Mariano will express to Wang, as he did to us, that “I expect him to turn it around, and that I want the best for him.”

His teammates can impart wisdom and faith, but it will ultimately be up to Wang to take the mound with the confidence of years past. At this point, he has no choice.

Tiger tale: Bruney, who will make a rehab appearance Saturday and could return Tuesday, currently has custody of the Tiger Woods figurine, having defeated Gardner in their regular Tiger Woods video game battles. “Now she’s going to blog that,” Gardner told Bruney and other teammates. Thanks for reading, Brett!

Good stuff:
CC will visit with 8th-graders tomorrow at Elizabeth Barrett Browning Middle School in the Bronx. The school made dramatic improvement in NY state exams, and this is a reward. CC will take questions from the 170 students. No doubt he’s hoping one of them is, “How did you beat the Red Sox last night?”

And Gardner will return to NY-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital to reunite with 18-year-old heart transplant recipient Alyssa. When the two met May 15 at a hospital event, Alyssa gave Gardner a bracelet and told him he would hit a home run as long as he kept it. Hours later, he hit an inside-the-park home run. And Alyssa, who had been waiting 107 days for her transplant, received a lifesaving heart transplant the next day.

Is it June 11?
Really? It’s cold again here in Boston. Kay just asked Anita the Stage Manager for a hot tea with two Sweet ‘N Lows. “I don’t make talent mix their own drinks,” Anita said, explaining why Kay receives the tea already sweetened.

Kay will order another tea or two before the game ends. He had pizza before the game; two full slices, not just the cheese.

We also had pizza, some salad, diet coke.

Flaherty is drinking coffee “with a little bit of milk,” Anita reports. “And Kenny has hot tea.” No Sweet ‘N Low? “Nothing,” Anita shrugs. “Straight up.”

Kenny just ordered tea with Sweet ‘N Low. Maybe Kay is rubbing off on him. Anita is appropriately shocked.

“This is the first time in three days,” she says.

Coming up:
There’s been scarcely any Subway Series talk in the visiting clubhouse, given that most of the attention has been on the Red Sox series. But tomorrow should be fun. If it’s 80 degrees, it’ll be even more fun. Maybe Tino will be in town!

Weather, Yanks foggy at Fenway

There is nothing like a 53-degree, misty, foggy evening on June 9 in Boston, is there? Really, it’s a shock that they’re even playing this game, given the weather forecast.

Imagine that, the weather folks were wrong. At least about the intensity of the rain.

Tomko, who is from San Diego, sat in the dugout for a while during the pre-game rain and said he loves days like this. Go figure.

hughes250_060909.jpgExtra heat: Hughes’ velocity reached 95 last night in a perfectly executed inning of relief. The adrenaline is different coming in as a reliever — Mariano and Coke agreed on that point — and it helped that Hughes was working on seven days rest.

Pettitte said Hughes’ fastball had movement similar to Mariano’s. Hughes smiled when told that and said, “It’s good to have anything compared to him.”

Hughes’ attitude and approach have been tremendous since he was removed from the rotation and his veteran teammates have noticed.

The Yankees will have a decision to make soon on Hughes. He is their sixth starter, and they have no one in Triple A they would want to make a start should they need a spot starter, or a starter for any duration.

Therefore, they need Hughes to be available in a pinch as a starter. If he continues to impress out of the pen, that becomes a tougher decision. Obviously.

What about Wang? And that makes Wang’s start tomorrow night very important and pretty darn intriguing, given the competition. Wang told us before the game he believes he is ready for the Red Sox and that his last outing was a confidence-builder; he was in fine form through 50 or so pitches.

Wang and his wife are expected their first child any day. He said he’s excited but also nervous. You get the feeling Wang has had a lot on his mind in recent weeks.

New York vs. Boston: The Yankees have surpassed the Red Sox in one ultra-important area this season — the quality of press dining. The Yankees really stepped it up in the new stadium, adding a bunch of culinary options on a nightly basis, unbelievable desserts (which, thankfully, do not tempt us) and now the soft-serve ice cream (which does).

Boston always offers pizza and soup, so it continues to trump the Yankees in those areas. And has Red Sox logos on its dinner plates and napkins. The Yankees go with plastic plates and plain brown napkins.

Anyway, in a strange coincidence, the Boston press dining room featured roast beef, mashed potatoes and broccoli tonight, just as the Yankees press dining room did last night. Maybe the Red Sox are now scouting opposing dining rooms.

So, the guys ate dinner in the dining room while we were fulfilling post-game responsibilities from the dugout.

Or at least two of them did.

“Popcorn and coffee,” Flaherty said, when asked his dinner selections. “I didn’t get invited to dinner.”

“I had prime rib and broccoli,” Kay said. “And a slice of pizza. And I ate the crust! And two cups of hot tea.”

(He loves when we write about him.)

“Prime rib and broccoli,” Kenny reported. “But, I added mashed potatoes.”

By the way, Kenny is the one who usually is in the gym by 7 a.m. He can eat what he wants.

Kay kash: Speaking of the gym, we saw Kay there around 11:30 this morning. (The gym, which is adjacent to the hotel, costs $15 per day. It’s unclear whether that is a reimbursable expense at the YES Network.) He was finishing up on the stationary bike. After his workout and presumably a shower, Kay got his hair cut in the salon next to the gym: $50 cut, $20 tip. He must’ve really, uh, liked his hairdresser.
 

Bruney back soon?


Bruney-6-7-250.jpg
Hey there! Still looking for Tino but as one of you mentioned in the comments, maybe it’s even better to catch up with him after the draft and get his thoughts on the players the Yankees select.

Phil blogged down: In March, when we originally told Hughes that we were joining him in the blogosphere, he responded: “You can have my blog.” So, yes, he knows he’s neglecting it. We’ll check with him again.


Mo tied up: In answer to a couple of you — yes, the numbers indicate that Mariano isn’t the same in tie games, but he’s always said his approach is no different than save situations and that he feels no different in tie games. We’ll check in with him again on that, maybe tomorrow, but we’re guessing he’ll stick with those responses.

Bruney back soon? Bruney threw his bullpen today – 15 fastballs, sat for four minutes, 15 more fastballs – and said he felt great, as good as ever. Girardi wanted to see him throw changeups; Bruney said next time. He’s probably no more than 10 days away if everything goes well.

Omelet Sunday: They serve made-to-order omelets in the press dining room on days like this. And they even have egg whites. Awesome! Kay had bacon and fruit, probably a burger, and definitely ice cream. A swirl, no toppings. The ice cream is going to be very difficult to resist all season, which is going to be a problem. For us for sure, maybe for Kay.

Swish-a-licious: Glad some of you enjoyed the Swisher interview. He’s a hoot. We did the interview – or “Innerview” – while Girardi was meeting the media at the other end of the dugout. When we finished the interview, we looked over and Girardi and the reporters were staring at us, laughing. Guess we were a bit loud. Or, more accurately, Swisher was a bit loud. His energy is contagious!

Just to let you know: We are planning to interview Longoria tomorrow for “Batting Practice Today presented by Audi.” If he’s still out of the lineup, we might have to go to Plan B. And Jeter has committed to doing Tuesday’s Interview from Boston. That night, we have the BP show, pregame and postgame on YES, with the game on My9.

Posada and Teixeira now BFF

The visiting clubhouse in Cleveland is kind of like a mini arcade. There’s the Big Game Hunter Pro, aka the Kyle Farnsworth Game. Farnsworth never looked more comfortable than when he was playing that game. And rather scary with the play rifle in his hand. Ramiro Pena appears to have developed quite a fondness for the Farnsworth game. “I love it,” he said, while shooting.

mark_blog_053009.jpgThere’s a Nintendo game — an original — and a Cornhole bean bag game, which A.J. and Tomko played in the tunnel leading to the dugout. About an hour in, both were sweating.

Gardner and Bruney regularly do battle on a Tiger Woods video game. The winner gets custody of a Tiger figurine. Today, while sitting at his locker, Gardner painted the figurine green, then hid it from Bruney and swore a couple of us to secrecy. (The green paint on his fingertips might have been a giveaway.) After that, Gardner borrowed Joba’s laser and pointed the little red light at unsuspecting teammates.

Meanwhile, Bruney and CC — tonight’s starter — were playing a Nintendo baseball game on the big screen. (CC might have had more trouble with that game than he is with the Indians.)

And in Posada’s locker sat a framed back page of Newsday from May 17, 2006, when Teixeira — then a Ranger — barreled over Posada at home plate. Teixeira signed the paper, “To Jorge: Thanks for your forgiveness. Now we are best friends! Mark Teixeira”

The first-place Yankees are a fun bunch.

Another save by Mo: Last night, we walked with Mariano from the clubhouse to the team bus. We had to go through the Indians family room and up a flight of stairs. At the base of the steps, a young Cleveland player and his wife were struggling with their baby’s stroller. The player was holding their sleepy daughter and the wife couldn’t manage to lift the stroller on the steps. So Mariano did what a lot of people wouldn’t have — he carried the stroller up the stairs. You should have seen the looks on the faces of the Indians player and his wife. They were completely in awe. Mariano and the couple exchanged some words in Spanish and then he got on the bus.
 
Aces wild: Had a nice pregame chat with Aceves, who likes to show off a nasty cut on the base of the big toe on the bottom of his right foot. It’s gross. He says it’s not the slightest bit painful. Anyway, he loves his role, even thought it is not defined in any way. He says he wants to pitch every day, doesn’t care if he pitches three innings (as he did last night) or the eighth inning (Girardi likes Aceves’ versatility too much to limit him to one inning on a regular basis) or comes in as a long man (as he did when Joba was hit and left in the first inning against the O’s) or as a starter. He just wants to pitch and he doesn’t complain. He also says his shoulder feels better than ever and is amazed that he has no soreness whatsoever. Then he showed us the toe, so the conversation ended.

Swish-talk: Swisher reports that his dad, who is here, likes his Swish-hawk haircut and his stepmother absolutely loves it. “It’s so easy,” he said. “Just run some water through it, a little gel and it’s done.” He was also delighted when we passed along the message from Polly Tompkins. Delighted!

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